Dear Scottsdale Unified School District Family,
We hope that you had a wonderful holiday season and that your students are re-charged and ready to take on everything the second semester has to offer!
Here at the District, we welcome newly seated Governing Board members Allyson Beckham and Sandy Kravetz, and look forward to engaging them in our ongoing tradition of providing innovative, future-focused learning opportunities to our estimated 24,000 students. At the same time, we bid farewell to Board members Bonnie Sneed and George Jackson, who have served you and the District with distinction for many years. We feel sure they will continue to be involved with Scottsdale’s public schools.
Your passage of the District’s bond and capital improvement proposals on the November 2016 ballot is already being implemented with the Governing Board’s decision last month that Hopi Elementary School will be the first construction/renovation project to be undertaken. The Board also authorized the first sale of bonds to finance the Hopi project and others it will decide to include in the first phase of work. You will recall that we thoroughly studied each of our five learning communities last year. Those studies confirmed that some of our oldest elementary schools have become financially and practically burdensome to maintain. The under-usage of some schools and shifts in our student population were also fully revealed. As we move forward and the Board continues to prioritize projects, I can assure you that our conversations and considerations will include what is best for the future of each learning community, the safety of our students, teachers and staff, our fiscal responsibility to you, the taxpayer, and the ever- evolving need for the educational experience we offer to be mindful of the present, yet trained on the future. As your superintendent, I am grateful for this opportunity to help shape the future of Scottsdale schools. I encourage you to be part of this process, as well.
Our 2017 calendars are filling up quickly with January’s many, annual student events:
Our elementary schools are in the midst of registering next school year’s pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students with Roundup events. Check the SUSD website, www.susd.org, for your school’s date. If your calendar conflicts, you can call the school to arrange another time to visit and register your student.
We embraced our community’s diversity with the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Youth Voices program at Saguaro High School on Jan. 12. This year’s keynote speaker was retired aviator William “Bill” Norwood, who flew nuclear weapons missions during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis and was United Airlines’ first African-American pilot. This year’s program was as inspiring as ever.
Coming up on Jan. 18 at 7 p.m. at Arcadia High School, it’s the annual District Dance Festival, featuring 50 dancers from each of our high schools’ dance classes and clubs. You’ll see
performances of many dance styles, including jazz, modern and contemporary. This year’s festival is dedicated to the memory of longtime Coronado High School fine arts chair and dance director Irma Griffin, who passed away last year.
Arcadia is also the place to be Jan. 20, when the 24 winners of our elementary, K-8 and middle school spelling bees compete against each other in the SUSD Spelling Bee. The first-place winner and the five runners-up will advance to the regional Spelling Bee.
On Jan. 23, we celebrate the high school athletes who took part in fall sports - football, swimming and diving, cross country, badminton, golf and volleyball. It’s the first of three All-City Awards banquets that will take place between now and May.
As spring approaches and, with it, the arrival of Major League Baseball (MLB) teams for spring training, about 200 SUSD students will take part Jan. 27 in the 22nd annual Scottsdale Charros’ Youth Luncheon and Baseball Clinic at Scottsdale Stadium. Students will have the opportunity to meet MLB greats and hone their baseball skills under the professional players’ direction.
On Jan. 28, the Coronado Learning Community hosts its Student Star Showcase at Tonalea K-8 School from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Student work in various content areas will be on display and fine arts students from the community’s five schools will perform. There, you’ll be able to find out more about these SUSD schools and, along with raffles, games and food, the occasion has all the makings of an outstanding community outreach event.
Our middle school flag football and girls’ basketball teams will take the fields and courts at Mountainside Middle School and Desert Mountain High School on Jan. 28 for these winter sports’ Middle School Sports Festival.
And lastly, a contemporary art exhibition by and for children gets underway Jan. 28 at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMOCA). Paintings, sculpture and installations from art students at Cochise, Hohokam, Hopi, Pima, Pueblo and Redfield Elementary schools comprise the SMOCA Young @ Art show that honors late Pima art teacher Allison Vredevoogd, whose students lovingly called her “Mrs. Radio.” The exhibition runs through April 16.
As you can tell, 2017 is off to a great start in SUSD! We hope the same is true for you and your families.
Dr. A. Denise Birdwell